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Verdict reached in Jackson trial

Courtroom full; decision will be announced shortly
/ Source: staff and news service reports

Jurors in the Michael Jackson trial reached a verdict Monday afternoon about 3:30 p.m. ET (12:30 p.m. PT) after seven days of deliberations and 14 weeks of testimony.

The verdict was to be read in court shortly. By 5:10 p.m. ET (2:10 p.m. PT), Judge Rodney Melville was silently reading the envelopes containing the jury's verdict.

Jackson waited out the deliberations at his Neverland Valley Ranch, some 20 minutes away. He left his home just after 4 p.m. ET and appeared at the courthouse at 4:48 p.m. ET, along with his family and bodyguards. The pop star, looking pallid, wore a black suit and tie, a white shirt and an armband.

Not enough seats were available in court for the entire family, but Michael's father Joe and mother Kathryn, and siblings Randy, Janet and LaToya were seen entering the courthouse. By 4:52 p.m., spectators and lawyers for both sides were seated in the courtroom, with nine uniformed deputies standing in the back.

Lead Jackson attorney Tom Mesereau Jr. walked outside the courthouse just before 4:40 p.m. to greet his client.

Barricades were in place on streets near the courthouse, with scores of fans waiting behind them -- many holding signs proclaiming Jackson’s innocence and shouting, “Michael, innocent.” Police faced them from the middle of the streets, with some patrolling the area on bikes.

After a nearly two-year legal ordeal, the pop star faces nearly 20 years if convicted of all charges. If found not guilty on all counts, he could walk free immediately after the verdict is read.

The jury requested readbacks last Friday of testimony from the pop star's accuser, the court confirmed Monday. It resumed deliberations Monday on the the 10-count indictment against the pop star, as media organizations sought more details on the jury's work.

On Friday, jurors began hearing readbacks of the testimony of Jackson's accuser, according to a statement released Monday by the court. It was not clear how much testimony the panel requested to hear.

The mood among Jackson family members was described as “grim” by family friend Stacy Brown. “They felt that he was going to be unjustly convicted," Brown told MSNBC. “Even (Michael) felt that he was going to be unjustly convicted.”

Jury's work kept privateIn a departure from usual procedure, Judge Rodney Melville did not make public most of his interactions with the jury since deliberations began. But in the statement Monday, the court acknowledged four meetings Friday morning between Melville and lawyers in the case, all before the jurors issued their request to review testimony from the 15-year-old accuser.

Jurors submitted another question at 1:25 p.m. ET Monday, according to the statement, but quickly withdrew it. The court said it would inform the media of future jury questions and requests for readbacks.

Earlier Monday, an attorney for news media demanded the release of transcripts from any closed hearings last week in the case, citing a report that said the judge and lawyers have been meeting secretly to discuss questions from the jury.

Television networks have been given permission to carry an audio feed as the verdict is read out. But cameras have been banned from the courtroom throughout the nearly five-month trial.

Fame tarnishedJackson, 46, is charged with molesting the then-13-year-old boy in 2003, giving him alcohol and conspiring to hold the young cancer survivor and his family against their will to get them to rebut a damaging television documentary about the pop star.

The charges emerged after a 2003 documentary, “Living With Michael Jackson,” in which Jackson held hands with the boy and told interviewer Martin Bashir that he let children into his bed but it was innocent and non-sexual.

Jackson, who climbed to fame with the Jackson 5 and dominated pop music in the 1980s with the powerhouse “Thriller” and other albums, was portrayed at trial as a pedophile who lured boys into his bed at his fairytale Neverland ranch. The defense called the accuser and his family con artists.

Jackson’s career began to lose its luster after 1993 allegations of child molestation that ended with a multimillion-dollar civil settlement paid to a boy, and his lifestyle, two marriages, and drastic changes in appearance became fodder for “Wacko Jacko” tabloid headlines.